is German and 18
years old. He stopped going to high school because of his illness.
When he was almost 15 years old , Sandy's parents noticed that
after his newspaper and magazine delivery rounds , Sandy would
wash his hands more and more often and for a longer and longer
time. Eventually he
ended up spending more then an hour under the shower. When asked
about it, Sandy told his parents that he felt as if he were being
contaminated by a popular women's magazine .He also feared that
through contact with boys from less academic schools , he might
become like them-"common , slimy ,impulsive , aggressive ,
and stupid." Because he was afraid that he might be touched
by such school boys in the bus ,he insisted that his mother take
him to school every
day by car . Sandy soon came to regard the walls , the furniture ,
and other objects in his parents' home as contaminated by their
less educated visitors.
his own room , where no one else was allowed,
seemed uninfected . He soon came to regard entire streets ,
buildings , shops , and play grounds as contaminated , and he
often went out of his way to avoid passing these places. He gave
up his beloved tennis and also stopped playing on the football
team . He spent almost all of his spare in his room with the
blinds down , sitting for hours in his chair doing nothing. He
even refused to put on his washed and ironed clothing unless his
mother had washed and ironed it under his supervision . In the end
he could no longer read newspapers and magazines and could no
longer touch his school books.
He soon became a complete failure at school because he could no
longer follow the lessons and no longer did any school work.
of all were his evening rituals in the shower, where he spent
hours using several bottles of shower gel .He would clean his
finger nails until they bled, and his skin became chapped and
sour. When his parents tried to prevent him from showering
excessively he became aggressive. To their desperate attempts to
make him realize that his fear of contamination and his endless
washing were devoid of any realistic foundation, he constantly
responded, "I know it's nonsense, but I just have to do it; I
cannot help it."
was often quite desperate and unhappy about his situation and kept
crying about it.
meets the criteria for an obsessive-compulsive disorder
with mixed obsessional
thoughts and acts. For several
years he experienced obsessions of contamination and
compulsions of washing that were repetitive and unpleasant,
causing severe distress and interference with social and
individual functioning. He acknowledged that the obsessions and
compulsions originated from his own mind and that they were
unreasonable. He had initially tried to resist his compulsions,
but eventually give in to them.